Conservation Officer Sean Williams (Ely) reports that although extremely cold weather has arrived with temperatures as low as -32 in Ely, many anglers are reporting a significant amount of slush under the fresh layer of snow that fell over a three-day period last week. Ice anglers were having decent luck with walleyes and northerns, with activity slowly tapering off with the cold. Officer Williams also attended fur registration at the Tower DNR office and assisted DNR wildlife staff with issuing tags. Violations included possession of a controlled substance, trapping without a license, and no registration displayed on an ice house.
Conservation Officer Marty Stage (Ely) observed people out fishing, skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling. Everyone appeared to be giving the new ice the respect it deserves with the new 12 to 16 inches of snow powder insulating it from the cold. This is a very dangerous situation for outdoors people who are not familiar with the conditions. Be very careful as the cold weather will not make ice as fast as expected now with all the snow. Marten and fisher trapping is over and the results were not very impressive. Remember to get your snowmobile registered and enjoy the instant winter.
Conservation Officer Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) reports that Cook County kids are pretty tough as they braved the -32 wind chill on Saturday morning to do their field testing for snowmobile safety. They were too excited to worry about a little cold. A few parents commented, but no one complained and a good time was had by all. As the snowmobile and ski clubs kick off their seasons, please consider joining a local club, or club where you ride or ski. Support your sport, it all helps. The wind has helped blow some of the snow off the lakes. Some of the slush has already come to the surface and has frozen down. The slush isn’t as bad as has been reported, but it is subject to change as people drill more angling holes. The officer also assisted DNR wildlife with the tagging of pine marten, fisher, otter and bobcat.
Conservation Officer Mary Manning (Hovland) assisted with a snowmobile safety class after several snow days at the local school. Manning checked marten and fisher traps, assisted with fur registration and attended training for Range Safety Officers at Camp Ripley.
Conservation Officer Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) reports that the first big snowstorm of the season followed by frigid weather slowed outdoor activity. Anglers and snowmobilers were checked, deer cases were worked, fisher/ marten trapping were monitored, and assistance was provided with fur registration in Tower and to Ely police and fire departments on a house fire in Ely. Many trappers pulled their sets last week due to the big storm. Harvest seemed fair for pine marten and fisher and good for otter. Enforcement action included no ID on unattended fish house and several instances each of failure to register deer, untagged deer, and failure to validate a deer tag.
Conservation Officer Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) worked the remaining fisher/ pine marten trapping season and checked muzzleloader hunters. The officer helped instruct students in Grand Marais at the snowmobile safety class. The students had a cold ride while they were completing the skill course. Wahlstrom worked the fur registration in Finland where numbers appeared to be down.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
Conservation Officer Keith Olson (Marine Unit) checked kamloop anglers along the North Shore. The recent heavy snowfall has the snowmobile enthusiasts out in full force. The public is urged to use caution on the area lakes. Heavy snow will surely produce troublesome slush. Olson gave a presentation at the U.S.Coast Guard’s annual safety stand down meeting.
Officer Matt Miller (Marine Unit) checked a few commercial netters who were getting their equipment secured as winter set in on the North Shore. Fur registration was worked at the Two Harbors office, and one incidentally caught marten was seized. Trappers are reminded that with the heavy snows, they still need to remove their traps from the woods, and any animals found after the season cannot be removed until after contacting a conservation officer. Miller helped with response to a railroad derailment in Two Harbors where two people were hurt; both survived. Enforcement action was taken for trapping and ATV violations
Officer Troy TerMeer (Marine Unit) work on paperwork, and patrolled for trappers and snowmobilers throughout the week. He also performed equipment maintenance.